Marshall McLuhan, cometa intelectual

31Dec11

by Laureano Ralon BA, MA (Simon Fraser University)
www.figureground.ca

Este año se celebra en el mundo el centésimo aniversario del nacimiento del pensador canadiense que llegó a ser comparado con Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein y Pavlov. Herbert Marshall McLuhan nació en Edmonton el 21 de julio de 1911 y murió en Toronto el 31 de diciembre de 1980. Se doctoró en filosofía en la Universidad de Cambridge y se desempeñó como profesor de literatura inglesa en la Universidad de Saint Louis, la Universidad de Fordham y la Universidad de Toronto. Su nombre adquirió fama internacional a partir de la publicación de su obra maestra: Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964), un novedoso estudio sobre el impacto social de los medios de comunicación. McLuhan fue un vanguardista que en la cima de su popularidad mediática llegó a ser llamado “metafísico de los medios,” “oráculo de la era electrónica” y “sumo sacerdote de la cultura pop.” Sus aforismos – “el medio es el mensaje” y “la aldea global” entre otros – despertaron la atención de académicos y periodistas, siendo objeto de notas y entrevistas en New York Magazine, Harper’s Magazine y Newsweek; tuvo además una breve aparición en la película Annie Hall de Woody Allen. 

Sin embargo, su popularidad se extinguió rápidamente. A principios de los ’70, su eclecticismo y heterodoxia fueron rechazados por los sectores más  conservadores de la academia, que lo calificaba de charlatán y oportunista; también recibió duras críticas de la nueva izquierda, que lo tildaba de apolítico. Tras su muerte, su obra fue marginalizada del ámbito universitario hasta su re-descubrimiento a fines de los años ’90. En este sentido, el crítico literario Donald Theall calificó a McLuhan de “cometa intelectual,” ya que a diferencia de los meteoritos, los cometas regresan. Su apreciación fue acertada: si bien a principios de los ’60 McLuhan había anticipado la llegada de Internet, sus ideas recién comenzaron a ser tomadas seriamente treinta años más tarde: en 1996 Wired Magazine lo nombra su “Santo Patrono”; en 1997, Terence Gordon publica la biografía oficial, Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding, y en 1998 Philip Marchand publica una segunda biografía no autorizada – Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger. 

The rest (pdf) at http://www.caei.com.ar/es/pfp/canada/canada6.pdf

Cita sugerida: Laureano Ralon.
Marshall McLuhan, cometa intelectual
 Observatorio de Canadá, Número 6, CAEI,
Invierno Sur, 2011.

 Laureano Ralon

Advertisements


2 Responses to “Marshall McLuhan, cometa intelectual”

  1. Here is a rough English translation of this post:

    Marshall McLuhan, intellectual comet
    by Alex Kuskis

    by Laureano Ralon BA, MA (Simon Fraser University)
    http://www.figureground.ca

    This year the whole world is celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Canadian thinker who came to be compared with Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein and Pavlov. Herbert Marshall McLuhan was born in Edmonton on July 21, 1911 and died in Toronto on December 31, 1980. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Cambridge University and served as professor of English at Saint Louis University, Fordham University and the University of Toronto. His name gained international fame after the publication of his masterpiece Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964), a new study of the social impact of the media. McLuhan was an avant-garde thinker who at the height of his media popularity came to be called “metaphysician of media,” the “oracle of the electronic age” and “high priest of pop culture.” His aphorisms – “the medium is the message” and “global village” among others – attracted the attention of academics and journalists, with the notes and interviews in New York Magazine, Harper’s Magazine and Newsweek, as well as a cameo role in the film Annie Hall, Woody Allen.

    However, its popularity was quickly reversed. In the early ’70s, his eclecticism and heterodoxy were rejected by the most conservative sectors of the academy, which labeled him a charlatan and opportunist. He also received the harsh criticism of the New Left, which accused him of being apolitical. After his death, his work was marginalized from the university until his rediscovery in the late 90s. In this sense, the literary critic Donald Theall who called McLuhan an “intellectual comet,” because unlike meteorites, comets return. His assessment was correct: while in the early 60s McLuhan had anticipated the arrival of Internet, his new ideas began to be taken seriously thirty years later: In 1996 Wired Magazine named him its “patron saint.” In 1997, Terence Gordon published the official biography, Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding, and in 1998 Philip Marchand published a second unauthorized biography – Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger.

    • Thanks, Bob. I need to work on my Spanish myself (if I can find time), as Judy and I spend so much time in Mexico and other Hispanic countries. Happy New Year and enjoy the sun in Florida. There’s little of it here at this time of year!……AlexK


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: